Murder-on-Sea

The second novel in the Pearl Nolan trilogy, with a Christmas twist.

It’s not the season of good will to all men…

The festive month is kicking off in style and Pearl is rushed off her feet with her restaurant, The Whitstable Pearl. She’s also busy planning her own family Christmas and providing mulled wine for a charity church fundraiser when Christmas cards begin arriving all over town – filled with spiteful messages from an anonymous writer.

Pearl’s curiosity is piqued but having pledged not to take on a case at her detective agency before Christmas, she reluctantly agrees that Canterbury’s DCI Mike McGuire should take over; poisoned pen cards are after all a matter for the police. And with only the church fundraiser now between Pearl and Christmas, she invites McGuire along as her guest. The event appears to be a great success; St Alfred’s church hall is packed and Pearl happily finds herself standing close to McGuire beneath some mistletoe . . . but then a guest suddenly collapses. Too much of Pearl’s delicious mulled wine – or could it be something more sinister?

The last thing Pearl expects for Christmas is murder but soon the bodies are piling up. Can Pearl possibly solve the mystery in time to make 25th December an unforgettable day – or will the murderer contrive to ensure her goose is well and truly cooked before then?

ISBN: 9781472119124

Publication date: 01 October 2015

Page count: 320

Imprint: Constable

Reviews

Murder on Sea

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of reading Julie Wassmer’s debut, and the first book of this series, The Whitstable Pearl Mystery. So I was quite excited to read the second one and catch up with the lovely Pearl. After solving her first case as a private investigator on summer, she has been slowly building her business while still managing her restaurant.

But now it’s almost Christmas time, so Pearl has decided not to take any more cases and focus on spending time with her family during the festive period. But the appearance of some mysterious postcards with malicious Christmas wishes for some of her neighbours and an even bigger crime, a murder, make Pearl rethink about her intentions and she soon finds herself in the middle of an investigation. I love how she always follows her intuition and as Sherlock Holmes, himself, Pearl notices all the little details no one else seems to notice. One little things leads her to another and it’s quite obvious that the police detectives, much to their despair, are not on the same high level.

Talking about the police, certain detective is back on Pearl’s live after disappearing for a bit and the chemistry between them is palpable. I really enjoyed their interactions and I think their relationship added another dimention to the story.

Murder on Sea follows the classic cosy crime structure, with the author leaving small clues for the reader and a final scene where the brilliant Pearl reveals everything and leaves us all amazed with her obvious talent. I really enjoyed reading it and as with the first book. the setting plays its own role in the story. Even with Christmas around the corner the small coastal town has its own charm and I can’t wait for more stories set in Whitstable following Pearl and her lovely lot.

 

Alba in Bookland

Murder on Sea

Murder on Sea is the second of the Whitstable Pearl mysteries. It is an engaging cosy crime novel, with a cast of likeable characters, most notable of whom is Pearl’s mother, the eccentric, talented and warm-hearted Dolly. The thread of romance that runs through the book is carefully balanced and augments rather than disrupts the detective action. The investigation ends with a Poirot style gathering of the suspects in Pearl’s home on Christmas Eve. Pearl is a delightful heroine, a fascinating mixture of adventurous, imaginative and pragmatic. Murder on Sea is an enjoyable seasonal murder mystery; an excellent Christmas read.

 

Carol Westron

Murder on Sea

Murder on Sea is reminiscent of those dependable old U.K mystery dramas like Midsomer Murders, with a dash of Agatha Christie thrown in, so Wassmer’s pedigree as a drama writer should probably come as no surprise. There’s also a great deal of warmth to the book, despite it centring on a murder mystery: in every other scene, the townsfolk are sampling hearty foodstuffs, supping on warming festive drinks, or gathering together for church sermons. There’s also a charming quaintness to the Whitstable world: with the exception of a handful of scenes involving text messages, this story could have been plucked from yesteryear. Wassmer is adept at creating an authentic and original township in Whitstable, and the characters, homes, and businesses are brought to life with a quiet and unpretentious realism. Only a dozen or so pages in, and you’ll feel that Whitstable is a place you’ve actually been before and that its citizens are somehow familiar.

The crime is not one of those you’re able to piece together, as a reader. Instead, Wassmer skilfully adds each element of the tale in a well-paced and satisfying revelation of facts. Although her characters do feel familiar, none is stale or clichéd. And anyone could be a suspect. They emerge from the pages with such vigour and realism that it’s actually very easy to imagine this series, perhaps unsurprisingly, being adapted for the small screen.

If you enjoy cosy mystery stories and good, solid whodunits, without gruesome details or gratuitous violence, Murder on Sea may be just your cup of tea.

 

Bec Stafford

Murder on Sea

Reading this made me feel happy as I love the author and I love Whitstable, it was also good to catch up on what the characters of Pearl, Dolly and DCI Mike McGuire had been up to.  These characters are great, so down to earth and normal and I think that is why it works as you can relate to a lot of it, well apart from the murders, lol.

In this Pearl mystery it is Christmas time so plenty of activity going on with the church events and work outings to Pearls restaurant called The Whitstable Pearl so when people start receiving poison pen christmas cards Pearl decides she has to say no to solving the mystery under her Nolan’s Detective Agency as she just has so much to do.

Things happen at the church event and one of the locals drops down dead but then because McGuire was there as a guest of Pearls he cannot lead the case, so who will solve the mystery?  Before long there is another death, are they linked to the Christmas cards? Lots of questions need to be answered so Pearl asks a few more herself.

As usual I did not guess who committed the murders so I enjoyed reading this, it is nice to read something a bit lighter but still keep you turning the pages.  This goes in my top ten for this year.  I have one more of this author’s books to read in The Whitstable Pearl Mystery series so lets hope another one is written soon.

 

Karen's World

Murder on Sea

Kemp Alley and The Old Playhouse

Whitstable Harbour

Page 2 – Kemp Alley and the old Playhouse

Photograph © 2017 Julie Wassmer

St Alphege Church

Whitstable Harbour

Page 3 – St Alfred’s Church – inspired by St Alphege Church

Photograph © 2017 WDK

The Rose in Bloom – Joy Lane

Whitstable Harbour

Page 28-29 – Joy Lane – its connection to the Seasalter Company/smuggling fraternity – and the Rose in Bloom pub

Photograph © 2017 WDK

Wave Crest

Whitstable Harbour

Page 88-89 – the walk from the sea-facing gardens at Whitstable, eastwards taking in Wave Crest, the caravan park at West Beach – the day the sea froze in 1940 – and the beach huts beyond the golf course

Photograph © 2017 WDK

The Battery

Whitstable Harbour

Page 91 – The Battery on Seasalter beach – one of the important locations used in the book

Photograph © 2017 WDK

The Tudor Tea Rooms

Whitstable Harbour

Page 124 – The Tudor Tea Rooms on Harbour Street

Photograph © 2017 WDK